A [Working] Manifesto of Care.
A [Working] Manifesto of Care. Considerations for a more caring Professional Art World.
Lizzy is three years into motherhood, Raquel is 4 months, and although our lived experience of caring responsibilities involve our children, we wanted to recognise the expansiveness of the notion of care. It’s attached to any caregiving duties: childcare, adoptive, foster care, a family member, neighbour, etc.
Based on our experiences and the concerns that arose, we have unpacked the UK childcare system as it is and imagined how much more caring art workplaces could be.
Thanks to the active input of the Inclusive Cultures’ cohort 2022, we have initiated a Manifesto of Care that stands as the starting point and a commitment to make our workplaces and art centres more welcoming and inclusive of carers.
The system as it is…
The UK has the second most expensive childcare system in the OECD after the Netherlands. Parents pay more for childcare than they pay for housing. The Pregnant Then Screwed campaign estimates that 1.7 million women are prevented from taking on more paid hours of work because of the cost of childcare. This perpetuates the pay gap between men and women and less women being in leadership roles.
Networking opportunities are decimated for working carers as there isn’t an infrastructure in place that supports caring for children when carers have to work outside office hours, (exhibition openings, evening talks, theatre and dance premieres, etc., all very common in the art and culture world) If anything, performing their job in evenings and weekends is at the expense of the carer who has to pay for any financial implications. Having and raising children in the UK feels like a luxury, and ultimately, mums are ‘the workforce of today raising the workforce of tomorrow’.
In our Clore session, we both discussed how, until we were living this, we never really understood the challenges carers (our colleagues) working in the arts faced.
We invite everyone, particularly those in leadership to:
Think about the people in your organisation who work 9-5, then 5-9
We hope the working manifesto below is a useful jumping off point.
Imagining care for the carers in the arts… A [Working] Manifesto of Care (in collaboration with the Inclusive Cultures cohort 2022)
- Create workplace nurseries and pop-up nurseries for events
- Advocate for the 4-day working week, flexible and smart working
- Establish regular check-ins as code of good conduct
- Establish a network of carers within organisations and choose a champion who can represent them in front of senior management
- Create a space where personal can be made visible in professional/public setting
- Talk about creating, making and continuing inclusive culture and maintain the conversation to keep it alive
- Centering on people
- Manifest love, vulnerability, and acceptance in leadership
- Establish a culture that holds consideration
- Embed honest gestures of care, empathy, and compassion
- Create space for listening and reflection – simple gestures
- Recognise and embed space for continued learning – intrinsic to values, processes and delivery
- Build trust
- Allow flex – moulding of roles to suit the people (not the people being moulded to suit the roles)
- Invite curiosity
- Unpack what’s being internalised
- Recognise the emotional labour it takes for someone with caring responsibilities to be supported to step into places of provocation
- Recognise interdependence of people and care in different directions
- Recognise frustration and channel it into active motivation